Here’s what I didn’t expect: dress shopping was more emotional and exhausting than I had anticipated. I was unprepared to feel so tired after every appointment. I mean, the whole process of finding “the one” is high stakes, so it’s natural for there to be a little drama. But for me it was tougher than that–it was impossible to find the combination of the fit and feel that I was looking for. I now know to tell brides to take a deep breath before going in. You ready for my story?
One of the issues I had during my dress search (which is something I’m guessing many brides experience–or am I the only crazy one?) was this disconnect between FIT and FEEL. I needed something that looked great on me, while still evoking the bridal, romantic feel I wanted to experience. I was fighting trends too and looking for a silhouette that designers just AREN’T creating. Sounds dramatic, but it sure was exhausting trying to track down something that just doesn’t exist! Throw in a tiny thing called a budget, plus my aversion for certain fabrics and detailing, and oh my! I get tired just thinking about it–totally not what I expected! I tried dresses on all over the place–including wonderful salons, like The White Dress in Corona del Mar and Gabriella Bridal Salon in New York. (If you live in CA or NY–these places are a MUST visit!) There were soooo many lovely dresses, but “the one” availed me.
At this point, I had figured out exactly what type of cut/look I wanted. I wasn’t the kind of bride that just couldn’t decide–rather, I just couldn’t find the elusive dream! So I hit the web, started looking around, and asked some friends. My wedding guru girlfriend, Leila, from Be Inspired, recommended I go in to Kirstie Kelly. And that’s when things changed. Because rather than go into a bridal salon and try on tons of dresses by different designers, I went straight to the designer.
I actually got to meet Kirstie during our appointment. We talked. I told her about my dad’s fight with cancer and my sister moving states away. We cried together. I told her about our wedding and how I wanted to feel and what I wasn’t finding. I told her how exhausted I felt. And then I tried on dresses. And then I tried on pieces of dresses–and that’s when the magic happened. Kirstie was able to get my vision and understood what I wasn’t finding. And suddenly the solution seemed so simple. She’s making me a custom dress. Which sounds absurdly expensive, but it really wasn’t. She’s just combining pieces of her line into one dress, just for me.
Custom is NOT for the faint of heart. You’ve got to be able to envision the final product, and commit to a gown only by viewing her in bits and pieces. But for me, it was exactly what I needed–someone who could give that perfect combination of fit and feel. This isn’t something you can do in a normal bridal shop where you are working with consultants who know how to adjust simple things like the neckline. Working directly with the designer means she can actually tell you–yes that’s possible! Kirstie let me pick and choose fabrics, hold each one up, we discussed the difference between ivory and almond, we talked about heel height–the whole thing was so personal and totally what I needed.
So I’ve said yes to the dress. You’ll have to wait until after the wedding to see pics (I mean–we can’t risk Bryan getting any hints!). Not that I could show you pictures anyway–I mean, my lady dress is being sewn as we speak. But I will say this–every time I close my eyes and imagine our wedding day, the first thing that comes to mind is me in the dress–walking to see Bryan. And that’s what I’m most excited about.